Friday, October 22, 2021
7:30 - 9:00 PM
African American Groundbreakers
For years, BIPOC individuals involved in classical music found themselves with no one who looked like them. Further, they were often regarded with an extra layer of scrutiny, as if they didn’t somehow belong. It might automatically be assumed that they were jazz or pop musicians. Efforts toward inclusivity seemed often stalled, as concert audiences became more grey and more white.
MUSE has taken important steps to correct this, including this recent project highlighting the ”African American Groundbreakers” in the field of classical music. Included here for the first time are singers, conductors, composers, pianists, instrumentalists, as well as artistic administrators, each of which braved an untrodden path.
The recognition of this legacy is an important step toward changing the future, opening new areas of assistance and opportunity. MUSE is uniquely positioned to aid in this pivotal role. - Anthony Elliott
About Anthony Elliott
Professor of Cello, and Conductor of the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra at the University of Michigan, continues a groundbreaking career in the field of classical music. He is a long time advocate for music in public and inner city schools, and has worked toward the development of new constituencies with symphony boards and foundations. He has given countless workshops, clinics and performances in schools and community centers across the country. Anthony Elliott was the first African-American musician to be appointed to a “front desk” position in a major symphony orchestra, when he was selected by Stanislav Skrowaczewski to become the Associate-Principal of the Minnesota Orchestra. With the financial assistance of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Jerome Foundation of Saint Paul, he commissioned and premiered the Cello Concerto by African-American composer, Primous Fountain. A number of prominent African-American composers have dedicated works to him including Primous Fountain, Augustus Hill, James Lee and Chad Hughes. He served as Principal Cello of the Vancouver Symphony. He has served on the boards of the Afro-American Musical Opportunities Association, the Music Assistance Fund, and the Sphinx Organization. Recently he served as guest conductor for the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra in a critically acclaimed concert in Carnegie Hall. He established a scholarship fund at the Community Music Center of Houston, and was one of three nationally known jurors for the National Black Music Colloquium and Competition, held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. In 1987 he won the Emanuel Feuermann International Cello Competition, and was the top ranked American cellist in the 1979 Concours Cassado in Florence, Italy. He has appeared frequently as a soloist with major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony, and the CBC Toronto Orchestra. As a guest artist he performs at the Aspen, Sitka, Seattle Texas, and Bargemusic Festivals, Chamber Music International of Dallas, and Houston’s DaCamera Series. He was a member of Quartet Canada and the Lyric Arts String Quartet. He has appeared with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, members of the Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Concord String Quartets, and with the present and former concertmasters of the Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He has conducted symphony, opera and ballet to great acclaim, including the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival, an honor he has shared with Leonard Slatkin and Jahja Ling. He has also shared podium duties at the Texas Music Festival with such noted maestros as Christoph Eschenbach and Maxim Shostakovich. He has also led the Sphinx Symphony, the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra, the Prince George’s Philharmonic, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the CAMMAC Orchestra, the Vancouver Chamber Players, the All Northwest Orchestra, and the New York, North Carolina, Nebraska, Washington, Texas, North Carolina, South Dakota, Florida, Maryland, Alaska, Alabama, and North Dakota All State Orchestras. He served for many years as Music Director of the Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet, leading that orchestra on a two week concert tour of Holland, Germany and Austria. Regarded as one of the leading cello teachers, his students hold prominent positions in major symphony orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony, the Houston Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the Milwaukee Symphony. The cellists of the Chiara, Pacifica, DuPonte, and Anderson String Quartets are also his former students. His students have fared well in National and International Competitions, including an Avery Fisher Career Grant winner, and the National ASTA Competition.
About Demarre McGill
Demarre McGill has gained international recognition as a soloist, recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, he has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Seattle, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Grant Park, San Diego and Baltimore symphony orchestras and, at age 15, the Chicago Symphony.
Now principal flute of the Seattle Symphony, he previously served as principal flute of the Dallas Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. He recently served as acting principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and earlier with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
As an educator, Demarre has performed, coached and presented master classes in South Africa, Korea, Japan, Quebec and throughout the United States. With his brother Anthony, he was a speaker and performer at the 2018 League of American Orchestras Conference. He has also served on the faculties of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States, the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) at the University of Maryland, the Orford Music Festival, and participated in Summerfests at the Curtis Institute of Music. In August of 2019, he was named Associate Professor of Flute at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and is an artist-faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and School.
A founding member of The Myriad Trio, and former member of Chamber Music Society Two, Demarre has participated in the Santa Fe, Marlboro, Seattle and Stellenbosch chamber music festivals, to name a few. He is the co-founder of The Art of Élan and, along with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Michael McHale, founded the McGill/McHale Trio in 2014. Their first CD, "Portraits," released in August 2017, has received rave reviews, as has "Winged Creatures,"his recording with Anthony McGill and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 2019-20 the McGill/McHale Trio performs at New York City's 92nd Street Y, as well as in Washington D.C. and on chamber music series throughout the Midwest.
Media credits include appearances on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center, A & E Network's The Gifted Ones, NBC's Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, with his brother Anthony when they were teenagers, on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
A native of Chicago, Demarre McGill began studying the flute at age 7 and attended the Merit School of Music. In the years that followed, until he left Chicago, he studied with Susan Levitin. Demarre received his Bachelor's degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and a Master's degree at The Juilliard School.